Resilience Project’s Martin Heppel to speak in free community session

By Madeleine McNeil, The Standard

Two Camperdown schools have joined forces to bring the Resilience Project to the town this month.

A free community session will be held at the Five Star Function Centre on August 21 as part of a joint initiative between Mercy Regional College and St Patrick’s Primary School.

Mercy Regional College assistant principal Claire Wrigley said presenter and former AFL footballer Martin Heppel would lead the session, which was focused around three key themes – gratitude, empathy and mindfulness (GEM).

The Resilience Project delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based, positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness.

A similar session held at Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre in June was a sell out, attracting community members of all ages.

“It’s a great event to have in Camperdown,” Mrs Wrigley said. “Particularly given the fact that we’ve had the fires in the region this year, it will be a really good to have this event for the school and the wider community. It addresses resilience and mental health and it should be really valuable for this area.”

Mrs Wrigley said staff from the two schools would participate in professional development session on the Tuesday afternoon prior to the community event and there would be separate student sessions the following day.

“The primary purpose of getting them down here was to develop resilience in the school communities and to focus on positive mental health,” she said.

“Resilience is something that as schools we’re always trying to address and develop in kids.

“For us it initiates purposeful conversations with young people. I think that’s really important for us and to link those strategies behind GEM into the classroom and then for them at home and in their daily lives.”

In the lead up to the project’s visit, Mercy students will complete a range of activities focusing on gratitude, empathy and mindfulness in pastoral care units.

So far students have completed a smile challenge which Mrs Wrigley said helped to “create a sense of community and happiness and belonging within the school community.”

“We’ll have mindfulness activities and have a gratitude tree where the kids will put up things they’re thankful for.”

For more information or to book for the community session call Mercy Regional College on 5593 2011 or email

Approved Provider

Victorian School Mental Health Fund Menu

Victorian School Mental Health Fund Menu

Victorian School Mental Health Fund Menu

The Resilience Project is an approved provider in several school mental health funding initiatives around Australia.

This means more kids, educators and families can benefit from positive mental health programs than ever before.